When camping, you can’t be expected to carry all of your belongings with you at all times. As a result, a lot of items are left inside the tent for convenience’s sake. Regardless of whether or not these possessions are particularly valuable, the thought of someone encroaching on your campsite and stealing them is a terrible one.
Whilst camping tent locks may not stop a determined thief, they act as a strong deterrent and can eliminate the possibility of an opportunist from entering.
Camping tent locks are ideal for any camping or hiking holiday, albeit a festival or an isolated, remote camping trip. You can never know who’s lurking about, ready to rummage through your belongings.
The Two Types of Camping Tent Locks
There are two different types of camping tent locks available on the market. These include combination locks or a lock and key. Both of these different types of lock have their advantages and disadvantages, but both do the same job.
Combination locks are useful as they don’t require a separate key to operate correctly. This eliminates the worry of losing the key whilst doing day-to-day camping activities. Combination locks are also often quicker to open as it is just a matter of lining up the correct code. The only issue with combination locks is the risk of forgetting the combination key.
Lock and Key
The lock and key is the easiest and most reliable method of locking and unlocking a tent. The lock and key method is easy, requires no memorisation of codes, and the key can easily be passed onto someone else whenever they want to access your tent. The main issue with the lock and key method is the risk of losing the key. However, most of the time you’re camping, it’s good practice to keep ahold of any expensive or important personal items, which often include house keys and car keys. Adding the lock’s key to either of these items and carrying it on your person is a straightforward solution.
The Best Camping Tent Locks
#1 Master Lock 4688D Combination Lock
- TSA approved luggage lock enables screeners with the ability to inspect and relock luggage without damaging lock
- Set your own three-digit combination luggage lock; TSA lock is best used as a luggage lock or backpack lock
- Travel lock is constructed with a metal body for durability and a vinyl covered cable for resistance to abuse from baggage handling equipment
- 1-3/16 inch (30 millimeter) wide lock body; 1/8 inch (3 millimeter) diameter shackle with 1-1/2 inch (38 millimeter) length, 5/8 inch (16 millimeter) width
- Available in black, blue, red, and silver (color randomly selected at time of shipment). 3 dial combination security for keyless convenience
Combination locks are easier to carry due to the lack of a key, but it can be an added grievance if you forget the passcode. The Master Lock 4688D allows you to set and reset your own combination, allowing you to choose a number which is one you’ll remember for future use. This lock is TSA approved and has multiple uses, as it is made for luggage. It is lightweight, meaning it can be easily clipped to a belt or your camping bag, and, with its flexible cable, is ideal for camping with its durability.
#2 Forge TSA Approved Luggage Cable Locks
- THE MOST SECURE TSA CABLE KEY LOCK ON THE MARKET: Forge luggage cable locks use an advanced dimple key and hardened steel tumbler system. Most luggage locks use old-style single bitted keys which are vulnerable to lock picking and freezing up at the worst possible times. Rest easy knowing that your Forge lock is tamper proof and perfectly reliable.
- KEYED ALIKE TO LIGHTEN YOUR KEYRING: Every lock in the package will work with every key included. You only need to keep a single key on your person, the other keys included can be kept in a safe place or given to a family member or friend.
- MOST DURABLE TSA RECOGNIZED AND ACCEPTED LOCK. Forge locks are designed from the ground up to be the toughest luggage locks around. Our special alloy lock bodies, hardened steel shackles and patented internal mechanisms can take such a pounding that we back our product up with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. If you can find a way to break these locks, we will gladly refund or replace them.
- MANY USES WITH LOTS OF VARIETY. Forge travel locks come with the extra long cable for more usage. It can be used on a wide variety of items besides suitcases or luggage. These locks can be used on a briefcase, gym locker, purse, backpack or laptop bag. The longer cable can hold your bags together to a chair in a hotel room or even use to lock your refrigerator.
- Travel Safely Around the World? Want a TSA approved luggage lock which works internationally? We have you covered! Forge cable key lock uses the TSA 006 master key. This system is supported by airports in USA, Canada, Japan, Israel, Finland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, South-Korea, Togo and many, many other countries. We actually don't have the space to list them all here!
The Forge cable locks may be slightly more expensive, but they come in multipacks, offering you the ability to use them on both tent doors. Cable locks are especially useful for camping due to their flexibility and weightlessness. This system uses a key to open the locks, which may complicate ease of access, but the key is easy to fit onto a set of house keys or car keys. These locks can be purchased with either a short cable or a long one, meaning there are more options available to people who would prefer a different cable length.
#3 Lewis N. Clark Cable Lock
- SAFETY FIRST: Keeps luggage, bikes, guns, work equipment, briefcase, purse, doors, gates, and many other items safe. Group items together and protect them, don’t fumble with keys
- TRAVEL ACCESSORY: Whether you are taking public transportation, flying across country, touring the city or on your daily commute, keep your prized possessions safe and secure
- SUPERIOR DESIGN: Durable rugged construction with thermoplastic rubber and ABS housing, means its build to last. Our flexible steel cable provides ease of use while protecting your belongings
- EASY TO RESET COMBO: Reset your combination easily anytime with our three-dial code. The re-programable lock makes it simple to change your combo and protect your valuables
The Lewis N. Clark Cable lock is ideal for outdoor use, due to its rubber coating, ensuring an easy grip. This combination lock is small, compact and lightweight and features a cable as opposed to a traditional padlock. As this lock is small, it can find multiple uses outside of camping and can be easily kept on a set of keys for use whenever needed.
How to Lock your Tent
Locking your tent up effectively using either of these two locks is simple. Most tents have two doors, an outer one and an inner one. Each of these doors is usually double-zipped, meaning that in order to lock your tent, all that needs to be done is to lock both of these zips together on one or both doors.
Can you Lock a Tent From the Inside?
A tent can be locked from the inside using the same method as previously described (most zip inside tents are double sided). Whether you’re locking a tent from the inside or outside offers no difference in terms of protection, but some people choose to lock themselves in their tents at night as an added layer of protection.
How to Keep Your Possessions Safe While Camping
There are other ways in which you can keep our possessions safe inside the tent whilst camping. Of course, these methods are helped by the addition of a camping tent lock as thieves will be deterred by the lock.
Carry your valuables
Keeping your valuable possessions on your person at all times may sound like a chore, but it is certainly doable when camping. Making sure you have a small bag to carry around your waist or shoulder helps, or having pockets deep enough to contain your possessions is necessary. If you’ve only packed the essentials, the chances are that you’re only carrying a handful of valuables at any given time. This could include a phone, wallet, and keys. A flask is also good to keep on your person at all times as well.
Hide your valuables
Sometimes it’s difficult to keep your valuables on your person at all times- especially during times when you’re intending to shower or can’t take any baggage or items with you. You can hide your valuables in multiple ways around your campsite. For instance, you can hide them under your sleeping mat, inside your sleeping bag, inside shoes, or inside the bottom of other bags.
Leaving valuables out in the open or visible to people walking by your campsite could be an incentive for someone to take them. It’s also important to make sure your valuables aren’t immediately visible if someone were to open the door to your tent.
Give your valuables to someone else
If you’re disappearing for a shower or don’t want to take your valuables with you on a trek, it may be a reasonable idea to hand them to a trustworthy friend or family member who is staying at the campsite whilst you’re gone. Of course, it’s better to trust people you’ve known for a long time and not be advised to just give your belongings to people you barely know, but if you have friends or family members camping with you, it’s worth taking into consideration.
Some campsites have lockers specifically for this purpose. Lockers are sometimes used to keep food safe, but can also be utilized in different ways. The only issue with using a locker is that you would then have to carry the key with you, and as discussed previously, can be a pain if you’re particularly adventurous or have locked your house keys or car keys inside the locker already.
Use your car
Depending on whether or not you have a car or whether or not you’re relatively close to your car on your camping trip, hiding possessions in your car could be a reasonable way of keeping your belongings safe. A thief is less likely to break into a car as opposed to a tent, and if the belongings are well hidden inside the car, you could consider it a safe option providing it’s available to you. Valuables can be hidden inside a car through a variety of means. For instance, they can be hidden under seats, inside the console, in the dashboard cupboard, in the trunk or inside any pockets behind seats.
Locking your valuables to an object
This works best if you’re camping somewhere much more isolated and aren’t really expecting to see any other people around. Sometimes a tent (especially a bivy tent) isn’t large enough to contain many possessions, so the next best option is to find a secure place outside for them to stay. A tree makes a good object to lock valuables to, as a chain can be wrapped around it and tied to a box containing possessions. Just be aware that this method may be counter intuitive, as a box chained up to a tree screams “I’m worth taking” even if one would have to go through a lot of extra effort to retrieve it.
Burying your valuables
This is more of a last ditch effort in an attempt to conceal your belongings. This method is recommended more for people who intend on camping for a much longer period of time and have the means to do it. In order to bury your belongings, make sure they are inside a secure box and make sure the hole that’s been dug has been reinforced by something like concrete to prevent it from caving in. From there, the process is fairly straightforward, to put the box in and cover it up with soil. A marker on top would be especially useful as well, as burying a box and then forgetting where it is would be pretty unfortunate.
Locking a tent isn’t the most reliable method of keeping your possessions safe, and in fact, the best method is often the most simple one. If you want to keep your valuables truly safe when camping, keeping them on your person is the best option available to you. Locking your tent may only act as a deterrent to opportunistic thieves, and a determined one could fairly easily rip into the tent to look for whatever’s hidden inside. If you’re content with using a lock as a deterrent, or whether or not you just want to take every precaution available to you, there are several brands and models which are ideal for your camping trip.